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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  November 29, 2010 8:30pm-11:00pm EST

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bureaucrats in the executive branch and thus would never have been made it into the budget w we -- would allow congressional intervention. in the early 1990's, i pursued, along with my dear friend, the senator from alaska, the late ted stevens, an earmark through noaa, to fund a tsunmai warning system. this earmark came under attack in the late 1990's and early 2000 by a few members as wasteful spending. of course, in this particular case, as in many others, time and events would prove this to be a wise investment of tax dollars. we all remember that on december 26, 2004, the indian ocean tsunami occurred, killing over 200,000 people in 14
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countries. two years later, the republican congress passed and the bush administration signed into law the tsunami warning and education act. this legislation was based on the foundation established by the 14 years of earmarking for tsunami hazard mitigation program. a congressional initiative that began in 1998 at the behest of senator gregg would lead to the creation of the national domestic preparedness consortium, which is now the principal vehicle through which fema identifies, develops, tests and delivers training for state and local emergency responders. the program began as a series of earmarks for several nationally
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recognized organizations which focus on counterterrorism preparedness and response needs of the nation's federal, state and local emergency first responders and emergency management agencies. as a result of the training and expertise provided by ndpc members, thousands of new york city first responders had been through counterterrorism preparedness and response training at the centers prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. mr. president, there are thousands of other earmarks just like these that over the years have made a difference in the lives of americans, projects that the bureaucrats in downtown washington never hear about because they do not communicate with constituents on a regular basis. programs like the predator and
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the human genome project, they are so innovative that an unelected, unaccountable government official is reluctant to include in the budget out of fear that he or she will be accused of wasting taxpayer funds on an unproven technology. mr. president, other members will be speaking against this amendment, and we will have examples of why simply stopping all earmarking is wrong and detrimental for our government and our citizens. the founding fathers bestowed upon the congress the responsibility to determine how our taxes should be spent rather than leaving those decisions to unelected bureaucrats in the administration and obviously with good reason. certainly, we can all agree that members of congress will return home nearly every weekend to meet with constituents have a
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much better understanding of what is needed in our cities and towns across rural america than do the bureaucrats sitting in washington. so, mr. president, for all these reasons, i will continue to defend the right of congress to direct spending to worthy projects as long as i'm privileged to serve in the u.s. senate and call attention to those who distort the facts on the subject. and i urge my colleagues to vote against the coburn amendment. we have already taken significant and forceful steps to ensure the abuses of the past are not repeated. this amendment ignores those steps while at the same time deprives the congress of essential constitutional prerogatives. it does nothing to decrease the debt and is designed to give
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political cover to those who lack a serious commitment to deficit reduction. and, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. i want to take a few minutes if i might and speak in favor of the bipartisan earmark moratorium amendment that is before us. this is the amendment that senators coburn, senator mccaskill, senator mccain and myself have introduced. i want to specifically start by just talking about what i have heard in colorado, and that is there is an old saying, and i know it's widespread, you hear it all over our great country that if you're in a hole, you stop digging. that sums up what i have heard from many, many coloradans who are justifiably worried about our federal deficit. i believe we can't find our way out of that hole, we can't climb out of that hole that we have dug for ourselves unless each one of us here in the senate and
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frankly across the rotunda in the united states house of representatives takes ownership of this problem and agrees to pitch in to solve it. i have long pushed, mr. president, for the president to have a line-item veto authority, and we ought to reinstate pay-as-you-go spending which served us so well in the 1990's, among other measures. we can't just continue to talk about these reforms, we need to take action, and that's why i have joined a chorus, a growing chorus of legislators on both sides of the aisle to end the practice known as earmarking. now, i know that many people will argue that earmarking does not significantly contribute to the budget deficit, but with all due respect, i disagree with that argument and i believe it misses the point. it's true that earmarks are a tiny fraction of money we spend each year, less than 1% of the federal budget or $16 billion last year, according to numerous watchdogs. it's also true that some earmarks may be worthwhile, even necessary projects.
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but because earmarks are inserted in spending bills by lawmakers and thereby circumventing the budgeting process, they are both a symptom and a source of the spending problem in congress and are emblematic of how poor our budgeting habits have become. members of congress become so focused on protecting their pet projects that they feel pressure to not speak up about congress' spending habits. in fact, i would suggest that earmarks lure members into habitually voting for increased spending so as not to jeopardize their own earmarks. in addition, from a practical standpoint, i believe that congress spends its limited time and resources shuffling earmarks when we could be conducting much-needed oversight, making our federal government leaner and more responsive to the people. this diversion means that earmarks are partly to blame for the lack of oversight necessary to ensure that the remaining 99% of the federal budget is well
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spent. mr. president, we had extra money to spend -- if we had extra money to spend, that would be one thing, but we are truly in a deep, deep fiscal hole and we need to stop digging. earmarks are only a small part of why we are in that spending hole, but banning them now will in my view be a small but important step toward fiscal discipline. ultimately, i believe that all colorado families and americans are the ones who will be hurt if we don't begin to reform spending and control our debt. we will have much more opportunities to address our crushing deficits in the coming months and years, but banning earmarks is the right place to begin down this path of fiscal responsibility. i urge my colleagues to support this important small step to fiscal responsibility. it's a bipartisan amendment. i look forward to the vote tomorrow, and i know that many of my colleagues are going to join me and this group of bipartisan senators who believe it's now time to reform our earmarking process. mr. president, with that, i
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would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. a senator: mr. president, i think we have a -- a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: just a moment. the understanding was to alternate between those who are opposed and those who are supportive. the senator from ohio. a senator: mr. president, i ask if i could have 15 minutes? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. harkin: i thank the senator from hawaii for yielding me 15 minutes of our time. mr. president, i challenge anyone, even my friend from
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colorado who just spoke, a new member of this body, i challenge anyone, anyone to identify any other part of the federal budget that is more transparent, more open, more subject to scrutiny, more accessible to the media and the public than congressionally directed funding or earmarks. every member who requests an earmark in an appropriations bill must post his or her request online at least 30 days before the appropriations committee considers the bill. every member who requests an earmark must certify, must certify that he or she does not have a pecuniary interest in those requests. each and every earmark that comes before the senate is listed in the committee report for all to see, and if you log onto the committee website, you can find a link to every single
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request that any member has made. it's all out there in the open. i remind people of this because one of the most misleading arguments against congressionally directed earmarks is that they are supposed to be done in secret, hidden from the public eye. well, at one time, that may have been true, to some extent, but today thanks to reforms that were implemented by democrats, by a democratic house and a democratic senate in 2007, there's more sunshine on congressionally directed spending than any other spending decisions in the entire, entire federal government. more sunshine on congressionally directed funding than any other federal spending in the entire federal government.
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now, why did i emphasize that? let's consider how the executive branch, mr. president directs spending to states and local communities. make no mistake about it, the executive branch earmarks funding, but there is very little sunshine when it comes to those decisions. they are very hidden. when a federal agency announces that a facility should be built in nebraska rather than texas or alabama, or whether a defense contract should go to a company in colorado or arizona rather than rhode island or ohio, there may be no accountability to voters for those decisions. the employees of federal agencies are civil servants. they're good people, but they
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aren't elected. they don't meet with constituents. they can't possibly understand the needs of local communities as well as those who stand for election. and most importantly, no one knows when, no one knows when those civil servants get a phone call from their bosses higher up telling them, for example, to jiggle, to rig a grant -- a grant competition for political reasons. does anyone doubt that that is done? every single year, it's done, and quite frankly, senators and congressmen do it. what senator worth his or her salt or any member of the house fighting for their constituency doesn't call up the secretary of
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transportation, the secretary of housing and urban development, secretary of defense? we all do it. we all do it to protect our own constituents. and if you happen to be on the right committee for public works maybe or for education or for the myriad of things the federal government does, well, those secretaries tend to pay attention, and they especially pay attention if they are of the same party you are, or they may pay attention if they want your vote for something else. an example: a few years ago, during the bush administration, i asked -- i asked the inspector general to examine a program in the employment and training
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administration called high growth jobs initiative. it sounds great, doesn't it? high growth jobs initiative. this was an executive branch program. the i.g. reported that of the 157 grants awarded under the program, 134 had been awarded without any competition. without any competition. noncompetitive awards accounted for 87% of the total funding, and the inspector general found many serious lapses in the award process. for example, a failure to explain why there was no competition. the lack of any documentation regarding potential conflicts of interest. so was it any surprise when we found out that some of these noncompetitive grants went to organizations that supported president bush's reelection campaign?
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or was this just a coincidence? now, let's not be naive. this happens. i may have pointed out president bush because it happened to be an investigation i had asked for. it happens under democratic presidents, too. if this amendment passes -- if the coburn amendment passes, there will still be earmarks, there'll be earmarks, but only the executive branch will be able to do it. they'll have the power to designate where those earmarks go, and that flies in the face of the constitution. article 1 of the constitution expressly gives the power of the purse to the congress. we're all familiar with the palestinian of checks and balances. one way the constitution puts a check on the executive branch is by giving this branch, the legislative branch, the final
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say on spending. i have said so many times, the president of the united states cannot spend one dime that we don't authorize him to do, and we can take it all back if we want. oh, of this a set up an executive branch, but only because congress gives that power to the president. the constitution gives congress the final say on spending. now, i realize the constitution may seem like ancient history to some people. i'm sorry to say it may seem like ancient history to some members of this body. so let me paint a picture of a world where only the executive branch can decide to direct federal spending. let me paints this picture. let's imagine the coburn amendment passes and a future president wants congress to pass a bill. it can be a democratic president or it can be a republican
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president t doesn't matter. the vote on the bill is going to be close. the president calls up senator jones, says, senator, i'd like your support on this bill. senator jones says, i'm senator, mr. president. i've thought hard about and it i am just just not going to be able to support that bivment oh, there's probably a little pause in the phone and the president say, you know, senator, i know that replacing that bridge in your capital city is real important to you. it would be a real shame if your state missed out when the executive intranch setting its priorities for next year. now, senator jones, would you like to reconsider how you're going to vote on that bill? that's executive-branch earmarking. and again, it makes no difference if the president is a democratic or republican. it is a matter of respecting the constitution and preserving -- preserving the constitutional
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prerogatives of the legislative branch. some people say, well, harkin, why do you night so hard for these earmarks? senator udall says it's 1.5% of total federal spending. i fight so hard because the constitution gives that power to the legislative branch. we should protect the constitutional prerogatives of the legislative branch, not just willy-nilly give them to any president of the united states, which is what the coburn amendment does. read the amendment carefully. see how it defines "earmark." it applies only to -- quote -- "a provision or report language included primarily at the request of a senator or member of the house of representative representatives." there is nothing in the coburn amendment to prohibit any earmarks by the president. they can earmark anything.
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and they will, because they always do. they'll earmark. and, guess what? senators -- senators will start going to the president and say, president, could you please -- i need that bridge. i need that flood-control project. we just had a disaster, mr. president. well, senator, i'll think about it. when we set our priorities next year. now, senator, how are you going to vote on my priorities? want to be in that position? i don't want to be in that position. i want to be in the position where congress fulfills its constitutional perestroika roughingive. under the -- prerogative. if the president requests it it is not an earmark. dishow that make sense. how does that make sense? well, here's an example again of the double standard.
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the fiscal year 2011 labor, health, and human services, education appropriations bill that the senate will probably vote on in december includes funding for national education groups like teach for america, reading is fundamental, reach out and read, the national writing project, many others. these are successful, proven programs with significant, bipartisan support. but under the definition of the coburn amendment, all are earmarks. none would be funded. they would all be eliminated. but -- but -- under the terms of the coburn amendment, if the president wanted to fund those programs, no problem. they wouldn't be considered earmarks at all, and they could receive funding, as long as the president wanted to do t again i guess, what sense is that?
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mr. president, my state of iowa had some terrible floods in 2008. a lot of damage. louisiana and texas have had destructive hurricanes on a regular basis. in the wake of these disasters, typically the corps of engineers comes up with plan to mitigate the damage from future possible disasters. for example, the corps is now working to improve a flood prevention program in cedar rapids, iowa, which was deaf stalted -- devastated by the worst flood in the history of iowa last year in 2 -- in 2008, i mean. if the coburn amendment passes, whatever the corps plan comes up with will be final, even if local officials strongly disagree with that. under terms of the coburn amendment, a strong case can be made that any legislative action made by members can be legislative by an eemplet an
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earmark. and representing my constituen constituents, it would take an extraordinary two-thirds vote in the senate to change the corps of engineers' plan, not a majority, not 60%, but two-thirds of the senate. again, i ask you, what sense does that make? how are we fighting for our constituents when the president decides it, we can't. we have local constituents that say we have better ideas and plans on what to do. the corps says, no, well. that's the end of it. that's the end of it. unless the president tells the corps what to do. i don't want to lose my ability to intervene effectively for local or state officials when this kind of issue arises. i don't think senators from texas or louisiana or any other state want to lose their ability to stand up for the best interests of their staivment i can't imagine any senator who would forfeit this important constitutional prerogative, give
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up -- give up your constitutional prerogative to the president so you won't be able to fight for your states and your constituents. is that what you're going to tell them? proponents of this amendment say, forget about article 1 of the constitution. we have to do whatever it takes to cut the deficit. the only way to do that is to ban earmarks. this is grossly misleading. yes, we do need to cut the deficit. banning earmarks won't do anything to help. congressionally funded mandates, as i said, are less than .5% of total federal spending. as one observer noted, this is like saying the best way to lose weight is to shave. my friend from utah said, reforms circumvent the budget process. no, it doesn't. nothing we do in appropriations at all circuit vents the budget -- circumvents the budget process. as i said -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired.
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mr. harkin: three more minutes? three more minutes? i thank my chairman. he said, when you're in a hole, stop dig. well, sure we can stop digging. we can stop the earmarks here. we're just going to shift them to the president. that's all. that's all is going to havment lastly, i had to laugh when i read this quote from representative michelle bachman in the house. this was in the "congressional quarterly" today. she is the founder of the house tea party caucus, one who has pledged not seek earmarks. she told the minutial list startory tbhiewn she thinks the word "earmark" shouldn't apply to infrastructure projects. "i don't believe that building roads and bridges and ingtsz changes should be considered and earmark," back man said. she gets to decide what's an earmark. no earmarks except for what she wants as an earmark. that's -- mica -- congressman
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mica of florida said there are some bills that require some legislative language to direct the funds. otherwise you're just writing a blank check to the administration," the republican congressman fromful fling. mr. president, congressionally directed spend something congressionally directed spending whether it is a highway or hospital or whether in wyoming or tenton. i for one have proud of the directed funding i have been able to secure on behalf of my state and for other stats that i have worked for or other entities that i have worked hard for, like teach for america. it doesn't necessarily help iowa but helps a lot of states. these fundings have created jobs, trained nurses, built roads and v. as the distinguished chairman said, one time i remember when pete domenici put that money in there for the hugh man genome project, it led to the establishment of the human genome institute and a complete mapping and sequencing of the human gene. had that money not been directed
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it never would have happened, i say to my chairman. so a lot of times congressmen, senators have good ideas on what to do to direct some of this funding. and i think that we ought to be proud of it. as long as the sunshine is on it, the a out in the open, everybody knows where it goes, everybody knows hogs a requested it, to me, this is the constitutional prerogative of the senate and the house and we should not -- should not -- give it up to any president. i thank my frefnedz for yielding me -- i thank my friend for yielding me this time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: will the senator yield for a unanimous consent request? i request in order to get this ordered so we know what we're doing here, after we hear from the senator from florida, senator lemieux, and then the words from the senator from new jersey, senator lautenberg, that i would then get my 15 minutes from this side to run consecutively with the 15 minutes i would get from the diswd senator from hawaii.
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the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection. the senator from florida. mr. lemieux: thank you, mr. president. before i start my remarks i would ask unanimous consent to be added as a cosponsor to senator coburn's amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lemieux: thank you, mr. president. it occurs to me that when i addressed this august chamber tonight and i follow my colleagues who have served here for a very long time and with distinction, that i am new to this chamber, and that i have a different perspective, but my comments tonight are not meant without respect, because i have a great deal of respect for those who have spoken in opposition to this amendment. but i have a differing view, mr. president. i'm new to the senate, as you know. i came here last year in 2009. i didn't have a specific position on earmarks before i got here. i knew that there was a problem with federal spending, but i had not yet made a decision as to whether or not i would support
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earmarks. and when you hear about a project for your home state, whether it be for a hospital or for a road or for a bridge or for a soothe treatment plant, and for the folks who are at home who are watching this, if they've not yet found monday night football on their television and may have stumbled across c-span, these projects all sound very good, and a lot of them are very good. and i hear from a lot of people in my state wanting me to support a particular project via an earmark. what an earmark is is a member-driven aproarntion where -- appropriation, where a member of congress say, i want this specific sphendz $spending for my home state or for an issue that i think is important. they've come to me and said, we need this money this research. it all sounds good. and i think in a world where our financial house was more in order, there could be a role for these earmarks, if transparent.
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but i can't support them in this situation that we're in. chairman of the appropriations committee just a few moments ago in his speech raised the point that this congress in last year's budget was $1.3 trillion in deficit. now, it is our constitutional responsibility to appropriate. that is what article 1 says. the power of the purse lies in the congress. congress has not been doing a very good job, mr. president. hdz 1.3 trillion in debt -- in deficit in just one year. it took 200 years for this country to go $1 trillion in debt and we just incurred a $1.3 trillion deficit. now, those who are in favor of continuing earmarks and who are against this prohibition say that, look, it's just a small percentage, it's $16 billion. and in light of $1.3 trillion in deficit, what's a mere
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$16 billion? frankly, mr. president, that argument doesn't ring true with the people of florida. when you talk to a floridian and say there's $16 billion in spending, that's still a lot of money to regular people. but it's more than that. when i came here and started to vote on appropriations bills, in the first few months of 2009, i noticed that those appropriations bills were 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% more than last year's appropriations bills. no wonder that the country is so far in debt. nearly $14 trillion. estimated that by the end of the decade, it will be $26 trillion. we spend $200 billion a year in interest now. the debt service on programs we couldn't afford in the past. it will be $900 billion by the end of the decade.
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because the appropriations bills go up and up and up. and i believe sitting here, in all due respect, and watching my colleagues that part of the reason that those appropriations bills get support is because there are member projects in them. and you can't vote against the bill once your hometown project is in it. it is the engine that drives the train. so it is not losing weight by shaving, as my distinguished colleague analogized. it is, as senator mccain has said, the gateway drug. it enables the spending that we can't afford. now, we have got to solve these spending problems. the future of this country is in jeopardy. we can't afford $900 billion in interest payments. what will this congress do when
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the interest payment alone is $900 billion? this is not 20 years from now. this is not 40 years from now. this is 10 years, really nine years from now. i would contend to you, mr. president, that this government will not function with a $900 billion interest payment. so maybe this is just emblematic. i think it's more than that. but if we can't do the easy things, how is this congress going to do the hard things? how is it going to cap spending? how is it going to cut spending? the president announced today a moratorium on pay increases for federal employees. good. that's a good start. but there's 270,000 new federal employees since this administration took over, according to the cato institute. $270,000 new employees with average salaries about
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$70,000-something a year. -- $70,000-some a year. we can't nibble around the edges, not with a $1.3 trillion deficit in this year alone, not with $26 trillion staring us down in the face by the end of the decade. the future of the country's at stake. our founding fathers gave this congress the power of the purse, but with that power comes a responsibility not to run this country into the ground with deficit spending. so this is an important step. it's a first step. and it needs to be done. because what tbheedz to be -- bt needs to be tackled next is much more difficult, the across-the-board spending cuts that will have to come, tackling social security, tackling medicare and making sure those programs are there for our seniors now but are reformed in a way that's going to save them for future and not run this country into a financial hole
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that it can't get out of. my friend from colorado -- and he is courageous to talk on this issue tonight -- said when you're in a hole, stop digging. this is the first step. and if we can't take this easy step, i don't know how in the world congress is going to take the harder steps that must happen if we're going to save this country. that, mr. president -- with that, mr. president, i yield the floor to the next speaker. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey is recognized. mr. lautenberg: mr. president, it's my understanding that i was to get 15 minutes to make my presentation. and i thank senator inouye for enabling that to happen. mr. president, i oppose senator coburn's motion to place a
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three-year moratorium on earmarks. i thank chairman inouye for his leadership on this issue. it seems to me, as it's been said over the years, that we've heard this song before. and if you really believe that these programs are responsible for our terrible fiscal condition in this country, it's wrong. it's make-believe. the difficulties we are wrestling with had its biggest boost during the bush years, when after eight years of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, brought to a $2 trillion increase in the national debt. but we never hear about that. earmarks are a vital environment for our communities. they help build levees, dams that protect coastal towns from flooding. look at the water shortages across our country.
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a lot of these are helped by earmarks, by congressionally designated programs. we -- we earmark funds for waste and drinking water problems, very serious problems. these aren't frivolous ideas. they help police departments, first responders, hospital upgrades and purchase new equipment. look at our transportation in this country. it's falling apart. and these funds, earmarks, congressionally designated, build roads, bridges and rail station that strengthen our transportation infrastructure. and you wouldn't know any of this by listening to the critics. these are sent -- these people who are sent here from our states to represent them with our special knowledge of their needs and requirements. these critics have dismissed
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earmarks as an example of wasteful, runaway government spending. we hear them called dirty programs, et cetera, mocking them. to these critics, i say, i'd like you to see what happened in jersey city, new jersey, when an earmark enabled a metropolitan family health clinic in jersey city, not a high-income town, which is now screening women for breast cancer for the first ti time -- for the first time -- thanks to new equipment funded through an earmark. or tell it to the millions of people whose livelihoods are connected to the port of new york and new jersey. earmarks permit us to deepen the harbor at our port so ever-larger vessels can bring their cargo to our port and help stimulate the economy that employs 230,000 jobs and is a critical component of our region's economy.
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local communities rely upon this kind of funding in times like these when so many state and community budgets are stretched thin and revenues shrink and even philanthropy is drying up all over our country. the fact is, hundreds of communities and nonprofit organizations across our country are expecting to receive congressionally earmarked funds for the unfinished fiscal 200 2- 2011 appropriations bill. coburn amendment would pull the rug out from these communities, snatching away the federal support they are counting on, expecting for us to deliver on our commitments. one has only to see the reception of an organization like campus kitchen, a nonprofit project that recently launched in the -- that was recently launched in atlantic city to
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feed needy family who flocked there over thanksgiving and at the same time help unemployed workers upgrade their job skills. campus kitchen is counting on $100,000 worth of direct -- congressionally directed funds. if this amendment passes, they'll close their doors and those who need the food and can only get it there will go hungry. and what about the resources needed to protect our residents from tourism -- from terrorism? sorry. hudson county sits just across the river from new york city, right in the heart of one of the most vulnerable areas in the country for terrorism. this year's homeland security appropriations bill includes funding for an emergency operations center so that the county can prepare and respond to emergencies and potential terrorist threats. one of the most serious problems
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that we saw on 9/11, when 3,000 people perished that day, was because the police department could not talk to one another because the first responders could not talk to one another, because firemen could not talk to their leadership and died that day, and thousands more, thousands, are now sick from the dust and the atmosphere that was created as a result of the demolition resulting from the attack on those buildings. this amendment would eliminate funding for this vital program, and yet those who criticize these projects are the very same ones who are all too happy to provide earmarks when they were in charge. i don't want to fool the public. let them understand what's going on here. we're seeing raw politics at work. earmarks make up just one-half of 1% of the homeland security
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bill for fiscal year 2011 that was passed by the senate appropriations committee. i was proud to author that bill, as the chair of the subcommitt subcommittee, building on the work that was begun by our recently departed senator byrd. compare this to the fiscal year 2006 bill which was written when our colleagues on the other side controlled the congress. under republican control, earmarks in the homeland security appropriations bill were 60% higher than the fiscal year 2011 bill. in addition to the funding -- to funding emergency operations centers, the homeland security bill funds important research that helps our nation discover new ways to prevent potential terrorist attacks and respond when they happen. earmarks also help to pay -- help pay to strengthen the coast
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guard, whose mission and value continually increase. it's not wasteful spending. over the years, many people have recognized the value of these programs, and democrats and republicans alike proudly included ear harks for worthwhile projects in their states. in fact, earmarked flourished when the republicans controlled -- in fact, earmarks flourished when the republicans controlled the senate. in fiscal year 2006, total funding for earmarks was twice the amount included in last year's bills, when democrats were in charge, and it was democrats who implemented the ethics reforms in earmark transparency that has significantly improved the congressionally designated programs. and since becoming appropriations committee chairman, senator inouye has been a great leader in this office. he's instituted important changes that have made the earmarking process stronger and
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more transparent, was an essential factor in our review here. at chairman inouye's request, senators are now required to post their earmark requests on the internet in advance so the public can see them. he has brought this entire process further into the light of the day -- of day, allowing constituents, the news media and outside watchdog organizations to track how taxpayer dollars are spent. but a funny thing has occurred. some of our republican friends who have used earmarks to serve their constituents for years suddenly have had a change of heart and jumped on the antiearmark bandwagon. in fact, the republican leader, who in the past brought home hundreds of millions of dollars to his state of kentucky, has done an about-face in calling for an earmark ban. the hypocrisy of these new earmark critics is outrageous.
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here's what the critics never mention. earmarks don't add one cent to the deficit, not a single cent. we heard that from our leader here, from senator inouye. when congress includes an earmark in an agency's budget, it isn't increasing that budget. it's specifying how a portion of the funding should be spent, based on the understanding of their state's needs, senators' needs, after hearing many requests -- all of us do -- they can evaluate which ones they see as the most important. it's a voice of reason and understanding. and the fact is that the founding fathers gave congress the power of the purse when they wrote the constitution. directing funding to specific projects is one way that congress exercises this power. if berelimb -- if we eliminate
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earmarks, we'll transfer our funding powers to the president. and that's not the way the constitution is structured. it undermines the authority the founders placed on us two centuries ago. mr. president, the people who work in the federal agencies here in washington include some of america's best and brightest, but they simply don't necessarily know the needs of our states as well as we do. and this debate over earmarks is nothing more than a distraction from the pressing issues we should be focused on. so i call on my colleagues to consider the facts and not the rhetoric. don't be misled. don't allow the truth to be mangled, misconstrued and misrepresented. earmarks create jobs and help millions of lives in this
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stressful period where we have people who are afraid of losing their jobs after many years of loyal support or still lose their homes because they can't afford the mortgages that they were sold. so i urge my colleagues to oppose the coburn amendment because it won't solve a single problem that we face. and i hope that we'll use our time here for more constructive debate. and i would suggest, mr. president, that everybody here who talks in opposition to earmarks, congressionally designated programs, says now on this floor, take an oath that you will in your own states announce the fact that you're opposing the earmarks that we're -- we're -- were proposed for them. tell the people back home that you're going to deny their right to accept these things because it's dirty, because it's
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unclean, and they say that it goes only to those who contribute large sums of money. if you want to look at those who contribute large sums of money, look at that side of the aisle. they work what we do in our debate about where funding goes an where funding stops. so, mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, first of all, i appreciate the fact that no one objected to my unanimous consent request that i be taking my 15 minutes from this side and the 15 minutes from this side and run them together and i appreciate that very much. let me say before we get into this subject something really great happened today by a bipartisan nature. we have a new governor that will be coming in to oklahoma, mary collins, used to serve over in the house. i flew her around in my airplane and helped her campaign and she wond handily.
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she's still -- won handily. she's still governor elect but she made at commitment. we have a highway director and the secretary of transportation in the state now for years and years and years and -- and i was so proud that today she said that she was going to reappoint him. i can remember eight years ago when governor brad henry, who's a democrat was elected, and i called him up and said, i only have one request that you keep gary ridly because he's the best in the nation. now eight years later she has done this. i can remember when i was critical of president clinton in 1998 when he took $8 billion out of the highway trust fund and put it into deficit reduction, it was something that was the wrong thing to do and gary ridly stood by my side for eight years before we were able to correct that. so we're going to have a great road program and hopefully we'll
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be able to get into some of these things. after all, that's what we're supposed to be doing. i often say -- in a minute i'm going to kind of identify myself as a different kind of person than you've been hearing from on the floor. i happen to be the distinction of being the only republican that objected in our conference a couple of years ago to the ban on earmarks as they define it. you know, i had no problem doing that at all, but it's something that is not a fun thing to do. we're seeing some things -- something happened tonight that went completely by everybody. it was a total change in the republican position and it's a good change when the senator -- senator mccain and senator coburn both talked about authorization. i've often said that authorization is the only discipline on appropriations. and i believe that. and that's true. and so we have a situation where i have been saying not for months or -- but for years that
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if you'll just define an earmark as an appropriation that hasn't been authorized, i'm with you. i heard them tonight say that. now, unfortunately, that's not what the bill says that we're going to have before us. but i just want to do -- i'd just like to do away with the whole word earmarks or at least define it in such a way as i just described it. now it seems like everyone would be in agreement with and maybe that's going to be the road that we'll be taking. let me, first of all, before i surprise a lot of people, give my conservative credentials. i have always been ranked as one of the most conservative -- or the most conservative of the united states senate. most conservative senator for 2009. the only senator with a perfect score of 99 key votes and also been voted the most outstanding u.s. senator by "human events." so i'm the conservative, but a conservative who loves the constitution. and i've been waiting for a long
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time and i -- i love these guys. certainly the author of this, senator coburn, is a brother, and i love him. an brothers do fight sometimes. and this is a time that this fight is going to be over with and we're going to have a happy ending on this thing. you know, i've been waiting for years for this tea party thing to happen for conservative and anti-establishment people to come in and i get very excited when i see what we're looking at and -- and yet we have an administration with a majority in both house that's we've had now for quite some time spend, spend, spend, and when they talk about george w. bush, look, it's this administration that increase the debt to the -- to the amount it is now, which is greater increase in debt than we've had collectively, every president, every administration from george washington to george w. bush. and -- and -- and -- all the time they've been talking about earmarks that totally distracts people from what the real
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problem is. that isn't the problem. you know, i've been listening on the floor now for the last two years. every night we go through the same things, they talk about earmarks, earmarks, earmarks. what they didn't do is pay attention to the fact that during that discussion this president, with his majority in both houses, was able to get my 20 -- give my 20 kids and grandkids a $3 trillion deficit in one year. i mean it's just mindboggling that this can happen. but, you know, we hear the president say spend, spend, spend. he has used the word quite often, we need to give the people what they desire. it reminds me of the guy who went into a department store and there's a beautiful, young sales lady came up and said, sir, and what is your desire? he said, well, my desire is to pick up up -- you up after work, have a fine din he buy a bottle of champagne and go back to my place and make mad passionate
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love. but what i need is a pair of socks there is a difference between desire and need. and to think that we could have actually said, the bill doesn't do this, but said that authorizing is kind of a lost art. senator mccain said that. and, frankly, i don't quite agree with that because we have an authorization committee in armed services, he's the ranking member, i'm the second rang ranking -- second ranking member. in some areas we have done a good job. in others we have not. authorizing is the only discipline there is to appropriating. now, i've got -- put the little family picture up there, will you, luke? these are my 20 kids and grandkids and i have to tell the occupier of the chair that i was so proud to have all of them at one table at thanksgiving. how many people are blessed that way? not many. this little guy right here, where is jace? the football guy. he said popeye, he said, pop,
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why is it that you do things that no one else will? and i said that's the reason, no one else will. i'm reminded nine years ago when everybody, democrats and republicans, they all said that global warming is coming and the world is coming to an end with the man made gases that caused global warming. i was the chairman of the environment and public works committee. and i looked at that and i found out they're cooking the science. that it wasn't true. but, you know, then we have the mccain-lieberman bill and all these things that would pass the cap-and-trade which constitute the largest tax increase in the history of this country and we beat them one at a time. the last one was waxman and markey. this has finally evolved that won my voice in the wilderness 10 years ago is now the prevailing thought. that's why i said to my little
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jace rayburn, grandson, i do it because no one else will. let me just say this, how much more fun it will be to come down here and do the politically correct thing and say, ah, earmarks are bad, earmarks are bad, earmarks are bad. we're going to do away with earmarks and let everyone applaud before they realize what it really is. to be able to come down -- i hear the staffers right now telling their members, you know, you have the greatest opportunity, you can vote for this amendment to ban these earmarks and you can make people think you're conservative, number one. number two, you can make president obama happy because he is -- he is publicly supporting this. this is what he wants. because this means, as it's been said by senator lautenberg and by senator harkin and several others, if we don't do it, that goes to the president. i'm going to explain how that works in a minute. we can be politically correct and there will be a lot of them thinking what an opportunity this is. if i vote for this amendment i'm
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a conservative and obviously i can make our president happy, that will do me no harm and i can be politically correct. well, it's been demagoguing now for so many years. and let me define what the third webster international dictionary says about demagoguing. we don't need that. the definition of demagoguing, political leaders who seek to gain personal or partisan advantage through pieceu pieceus extravagant claims an charges. that's what we've been listening to for the last two years on a regular basis. and, you know, the big problem i have with all the demagoguing going on every night for the last two years is that people are just doing not -- not paying attention to the real problem and the real problem is not earmarks. the real problem is that during that two-year period when everyone is concerned about a few dollars, we found out that we inkressed the -- increased
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the des more than we increased in the country and we've given my 20 kids and grandkids a trillion dollar deficit in two years. i never believe that that could happen. that's what happened here. get this thing behind us so we can start working on this and not make people think we're doing something great for them when we're really not. it would be nothing short by criminal to go through all the trouble to elect great new anti-establishment conservatives only to be politically correct and have them cede to obama the constitutional power of the purse and that's exactly what would happen. i want these new people coming in to tackle the three issues to really save america and in my opinion the deficit and the debt and obama care and not be distracted by the bogus issue of earmarks. now i say bogus. that's kind of a strong word. why is it bogus? it's bogus -- put the chart up on the house language.
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it's bogus because -- and -- and unconstitutional. but the bogus part shows the definition of what we are saying. the house of representatives republicans -- not the democrats, the republicans -- they took a moratorium, a one-year moratorium banning earmarks for that period of time. how did they define it? they said that they would -- the -- yeah, resolve that the policy of the republican conference no members shall request congressional earmarks, limited tax -- in conjunction with clause 9, rule 21 of the rules of the house. well, what is that clause 9, rule 21? it applies to every appropriations or authorization. they have said we will neither appropriate nor authorize for a whole year. now the democrats are going to do it. the president's going to do it. they say they're not going to do it. of course the authors of this amendment, they all agreed with it and praised the house for doing this.
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but let's go ahead and -- and see what the -- the constitution says. article 1, section 9, several people here have talked about the constitution. you know, it's times like this that i miss bob byrd. senator byrd would talk about the constitution. he would be really outraged. it's so plain what we're supposed to be doing up here, what the constitution and the oath of office tells us what we're supposed to be doing. article 1, section 9, no money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of the appropriations made by law. not us. law. not the president. if i would just say if you're looking at the senate ban language, it says the term congressional directed spending item means a provision primarily at the request of senator providing expenditure, so forth, to an entity targeted to a specific state or with any -- everything is with or without or
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to an entity. now, in other words, they say, again, they are talking about all appropriations, all authorizations. we're not going to do that anymore. we're going to let the president do that. that's what this whole thing is about. i was so excited when i heard for the first time agreeing with me, by the way, it's not appropriate for me to tell this group or say publicly what goes on inside a -- a conference. a republican conference, i can say what i said. i said to my colleagues when they are trying to get us and they did, i went up in 2008 and i went ahead and voted for a ban because i was told that they would define it as an appropriation that has not been authorized. now all of a sudden, they didn't do it then. all of a sudden now they're talking about doing it. i think i know why. in a minute, i will tell you why i think it is. so we have this situation where we're saying we're not going to authorize, we're not going to appropriate. there are two reasons to ban senate spending by either definition. it cedes the constitutional authority to the president and
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also gives coverage to big spenders. let's go back to that chart, if you would. the constitution would restrict spending only to the legislative branch. it specifically denies that on or to the president. we take an oath to uphold article 1, section 9 of the constitution. now, maybe there is some doubt about this. if you think there is some doubt, let's go back and see what the founders of this country said, let's see what the authors of the constitution said. let's look at james madison. he said the power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people for obtaining redress of every grievance. now, the two reasons that he did, if you studied the federalist papers, they said that they wanted the congress to do the spending because if they do it wrong, then they -- first of all, they know the needs of the people of their state or whatever the unit was at that
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time, but -- and if they do it wrong, they can fire them. look at what happened on november 2. that's exactly what happened. alexander hamilton, he said the legislature not only commands the purse but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen should be regulated. that's what we're supposed to be doing. the supreme court -- this is justice joseph story in his commentaries on the -- a senator: would the senator yield? mr. inhofe: let me ask if i can extend my time by about five minutes. is there objection? a senator: and i ask that the senator's statement not appear to be interrupted in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the health, education and labor pensions committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 676 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will report. the clerk: senate resolution 676, supporting the goals and ideals of american diabetes month. the presiding officer: is there any objection? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. a senator: without objection, i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the agriculture committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 679. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 679, commemorating the 100th
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anniversary of the weeks law. a senator: i ask unanimous consent the -- the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. a senator: are you responding -- is the chair responding to the unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table? the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i understand that s. 3985 introduced earlier by senator sanders is at the desk, and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 3985, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes. a senator: i would now ask for its second reading and object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard. the bill will be read the second
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time the next legislative day. mr. lugar: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the appointment at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lugar: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:00 a.m. on tuesday, november 30, that the following -- that following the prayer and the pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders to be reserved for their use later in the day, and that following any leader remarks the senate resume consideration of s. 510, the f.d.a. food safety modernization act as provided for under the previous order. that upon this disposition of s. 510, the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. further, that the senate recess
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from 12:30 until 4:00 p.m. to allow for the party caucus meetings. and finally, i ask that senator dodd be recognized to speak at 4:00 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lugar: mr. president, senators should expect a series of up to three roll call votes beginning at approximately 9:15 tomorrow. the votes will be in relation to two coburn motions to suspend the rules and on the passage of the f.d.a. food safety modernization act, and if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order following the remarks of the senator from oklahoma, and i thank senator inhofe for allowing me to intererupt. i understood his message very clearly, and i agree totally with it, and i thank him. mr. inhofe: i thank the senator from new jersey. i understand now my time would be up to about three minutes
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after the top of the hour. i've talked about alexander hamilton and james madison. probably the guy that was the most knowledgeable on the constitution was justice joseph story. this would have been back in the early 1800's when he actually was -- he said in his commentaries, he said it's highly proper that congress should possess the power to decide how and when any money should be applied. if it were otherwise, the executive would possess an unbounded power, congress is made the guardian of the treasury. i say all this to impress upon any impartial patron that the legislative branch -- and that's us and only the legislative branch -- has the power to spend money. so how does a ban on earmarks cede our authority to -- our authority to the president. this is something that is kind of heavy lifting, but i think it's very important that people understand why -- how this actually happened, and this is
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how it works. this is the way things work here and have been for many years, and the constitution is very clear. the president of the united states submits a budget to the congress. that's the house and the senate, that's us. in this budget, there is an overall budget, but within the budget he says how much is going to be spend to defend america, how much is going to be spent for roads and highways, how much for water and infrastructure, how much for all these things, so we have these top lines under which we are operating. and so let's just take as an example -- i happened to be the second ranking member on the -- on the armed services committee, and in his budget last year, he had, i think, $330 million set aside for a launching system called a box of rockets. by the way, it's a good program. it's something that we need, but with limited funding, we in the armed services committee -- this is what senator mccain was talking about. we have experts in these committees who look at our missile defense system and all
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this stuff and say how can we best defend america? the president doesn't know that. they can say well, that's coming from the pentagon. the pentagon does what he says. we all understand, that's a reality. so instead of this launching system for $330 million, we decided to spend that same amount of money and buy six new shiny fa-18 fighters, things that we knew that we needed at this time. now, it didn't cost any more money. we're just taking that money that he wanted to spend on somebody else and we're exercising our constitutional prerogative. now, if we substitute our appropriation for his budget item, it would be an earmark by any definition. so if we were to pass this and this becomes law, that would mean we would have to just take whatever the president wants to spend on defending america and we would not be able to do anything that we really wanted to. we said that six new f-18's were what we really needed and didn't cost one cent. in other words, we would be doing -- we would be letting the
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president do what james madison wanted us to do. now, if you take and look at just the armed services committee, the unmanned aerial vehicles, right now we have 36 of these that are flying around western -- southwest asia over areas where there is combat, feeding information to our kids in the field up there, we would not have unmanned aerial vehicles if it weren't for earmarks, because we took something the president wanted and put that same amount of money into these -- into these -- the unmanned vehicles. also, we want have our improved armor vehicles and add-on armor. why do you think those of us on the armed services committee spend so much time in iraq, afghanistan, africa and around the world where there is combat? we do it to find out what our needs are. and when we find out what our needs are, we know more than the president knows about the needs, and we're doing what hamilton and madison and story wanted us
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to do. that's our job description. that's what we're supposed to be doing. so we did. we haven't have add-on armor -- i don't know how many of our young men and women in uniform would be dead today had it not been for that. we wouldn't have a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles. again, there was a congressional yeerp. we wouldn't have $14.2 million for detection of land mines and detection of suspended bomb makers and i.e.d.'s in iraq and afghanistan. i know there was an earmark because there was mine on the armed services committee. it didn't cost a cent because we merely canceled an equal amount of money that the president wanted to spend on something else, and we exercised our constitutional right. didn't -- didn't -- didn't cost anything additional. so we see that eliminating an earmark wouldn't allow us to change anything in the obama budget and would allow president obama to perform our constitutional duties. now number two, i said constitutionally, that's where we are and that money would be
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transferred for all practical purposes to president obama. now, the second thing is it gives coverage -- cover to big spenders. under the current definition, let's look at the -- at two of the four largest earmarks in 2008. 2008. using the senate definition, expenditures with or to an entity, the following qualifies as earmarks. rather than get in an argument as to whether or not they are earmarks, put them up there to kind of get a perspective. these are two of them in 2008. the tarp. this is one. i think -- and i know a lot of people get upset when i say this. i think 10, 15, 20 years from now, people will look back, historians and say the most egregious vote ever cast by -- in the senate was the $700 billion bailout, $700 billion bailout. you know where that went, a.i.g. bailout, chrysler bailout,
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general motors bailout. that was $700 billion given to an unelected bureaucrat to do with as he wished. the other was the pepfar bill, $50 billion. that's $750 billion. my good friend and my brother, the author of this amendment, senator coburn, voted for both of these. i voted against both of these. just to kind of put it in perspective, let's show -- and this is something that i wish that all members would do. this is called the inhofe factor. now, i know i'm not as smart as a lot of the guys around here, so when i see the billions and trillions of dollars, i have to put it somehow into a perspective that i know what this costs for my people in oklahoma. in 2009, i would say to the chair, in 2009, $2 trillion in taxes was paid by individuals across the country. $18 billion came from oklahomans, which is about 1% of the federal total. that's about right. the average oklahoma individual tax return that year was $11,100. now, therefore, the average oklahoma taxpayer is responsible
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for providing this percentage down here of the total federal revenue. in other words, for every $10 million in spending, oklahomans pay about a nickel. i'm not talking about all the state of oklahoma. each taxpayer who files a tax return in oklahoma. so that's -- that's what we have there. put the next one up. let's see how that works in reality. if you take the amount and use that same factor to those two bills, the tarp bill, $700 billion bailout and the $50 billion pepfar bill, that's $750 billion, and you apply that factor, each of my tax-paying families in the state of oklahoma would have to have an obligation of $3,500. that now, that's what it would cost. now, someone might argue, well, they didn't spend the whole $700 billion. some of that came back n that's triewvment but they authorized it. they said you can do t so they were willing to have each
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taxpayer in my family, in my state of oklahoma, to have to spend $3,552 in taxes. now, the total amount of requests that i had -- in other words, earmarks -- were some $80 million. that was in areas mostly in defense. and it used the same factor. each family in oklahoma to get the $80 million of things that we're doing trying to defend america would cost them $.40. sos are earmarks. that's versus $3,552 that the author of this amendment that we're talking about would have to spend. so, you know, i just think you at some point stro look and see what the cost really is. now, if you go back to chart number 4 -- if you could find number 4 there -- several things were said today that were not triewvment i'm not saying they intentionally misrepresented the
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truth, but they inadvertent did, all caught up in this. a statement was made -- in fact it was the senator -- it might have been the chair; i can't remember who it was; that made the statement that as the earmarks are going up, that this is causin causing spending to g. well, that's not what's happening. if you take the total amount of earmarks in 2010, according to o.m.b., office of management and budget, that would have been $11b if you look and see what happens to that each year, each year it goes down a period -- an amount. it started five years ago at $16.9 billion and $18 billion. went down to $15 billion. down $12k 12* billion, now $11 billion. so it is coming down. that's why we have to look at this in reality. i am not going to go -- i notice that my good friend, senator demint, from south carolina, has been active in this thing,
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and the last time i spoke on the floorks i pointed out -- senator demint had all these different earmarks that he has been able to get for his state. and, you know, i don't know how you can talk about eliminating earmarks and yet do that. now, the platitudes that are used -- it's interesting when you don't have the facts on your side, you don't have logic on your side, but you have a population that has been led to believe that earmarks are bad, that means appropriations are maid bad, authorizations are bad, ands unless they're done by the president, that those individuals are -- they say earmarks are a gateway drug that needs to be eliminated in order to demonstrate that we're serious about fiscal restraint. a only one problem with it; it is not true. according to the office of management and budget, and the federal spending watchdog group such as citizens against government waste, earmarks have dramatically decreased over the last several years. i mentioned 2005, $19 billion.
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2008, $16 billion. 2009, $15 billion. 2010, $11b so while the total number of earmarks and overall dollar amounts have declined, the obama deficit has ballooned to $3 trillion in two years. so, obviously, they're not the gateway -- a gateway drug. but it sounds good. these are the platitudes and they say it is symptomatic of all this garbage. we're not going to get down and do something about real spending until we quit demagoguing this issue. and i will give an easy way of doing this -- of correcting this prb in just a minute. now, if you need further proof in 2009, the senate performed a rare action of considering many appropriations bills sidley rather -- individually rather than doing the irresponsible thing that we're talking about doing right now, lumping them all in one bill to consider at the end of the year. the value of considering them individually, is it gives senators the opportunity to
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exercise some oversight in gofort. so in 2009, senators could offer amendments to both cut spend and strike the earmarks, if they desired. and they did desire. between the months of july and november of 2009, there were 18 votes specifically targeting earmarks. now, if they -- they had failed -- if they had passed, it wouldn't have saved one penney. instead of putting money back into the pockets of the american people by reducing spending or shrinking deficit, these would have put the money into the hands of president obama by allowing his administration to spend the money as they saw fit. by the end the day, none of the money would have been saved. when president obama wins, the american people lose. another amendment to strike funding out of a program called save america's treasures for specific art centers throughout the united states, but the money was simply shifted to are allow the obama administration to do it. the same thing happened with the transportation projects. -- the transportation projects
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-- seferlg members offered amendments to strike a variety of transportation projects in many states and they were unsuccessful. so what happened? that money went back to the bureaucracy controlled by president obama. not one of these actions save add dime but made president obama happy because it went back to his coffers. now, we've pea clearly demonstrated two points. first of all, spend something an exclusive constitutional responsibility of the senate. and killing earmarks doesn't save a dime. it merely gives the money to president obama. well it reminds me, you know, of what i went through 10 years ago. i couldn't get anyone to understand how they were cooking the science and why we should not pass a cap and trade and everybody thought the world was dmg to an end. and i was that one person. granted, that was ten years ago. now it is the prevailing thought here in congress. in fact, the annual big party that's thrown by the united nations, who started the whole concept of global warming, is
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having their annual party next week, and not even one-fourth -- none of the media is going to show up. hardly anyone will show up at this pink because people realize now it was a phony issue. it was in fact the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the american people. i said it. and everybody got mad at me. everybody hated me. and i don't mind being the only one -- and i am the only one on this. a couple of good things have happened. it's been mentioned that several those that rose add month in opposition to earmarks. they talked about in the case of rand paul from kentucky, our new senator dirnl noe so happy to sl him with -- i am so happy to have him with us. senator mike lee said i wouldn't say there isn't a mandate to stop spending for roads in any other general purpose. another one, michelle bachman said, well, it's already been stated. i think senator -- one of the other senators already mentioned
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that, said i don't believe building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark. great. i agree. that's my whole point. so we're seeing all these people now coming around saying, well, we do have a job to do. senator chambliss said, there are times when crisis arise, issues come forth, such as the port of is a van narcs that i remember the right to ask congress and the president for funding. there it is. so i would just say those individuals who are on the other side realize that those that is the wrong side. i am very proud of some of the talk shows -- i am none quite a few stalk shows. when you get a chance to talk and explain to people what the situation is i am looking right now at 12 major talk show hosts in america who now pretty much agree with what i'm saying tonight. mikmark gallagher, mark levine, janet par shall, jason louis,
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rusty humphreys, jerry doyle. it was not easy for them to say, maybe inhofe has got a point here. let's look at this closer. let me just say this is this solution. i sthaid in the very beginning. i have to give credit where credit is due. this is not my thought. this is what i did. we have eight great conservative americans that hold up -- that head up eight conservative groups. and i'm talking about tom shatts, melanie slean, steve he will list, taxpayers for common sense, craig holman, jim wail much, man knee rivalez, we can put this whole earmark issue to rest thank to them because they offered the five principles of earmark reform. there they are. the five principles of earmark
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reform. these are all the conservatives that said, you know, we really need to do something about this. statement preserve our constitution. so i introduced a couple weeks ago senate bill 3939. what i did, mr. president, i took everything that they had and he put that into a bill. there it is. so if you want to take it a section at a time, the five principles are to utah account cord between earmarks and campaign contributions. congress should limit earmarks directed to campaign contributors, exactly what senate bill 3939 does. section two, no earmark beneficiary should make contributions aggregating more than $5,000. the second thing there, to eliminate any connection between legislation and -- let's see. that's the -- third, to increase transparent, congress should create a new database with all congressional earmarks. and it goes on and they elaborate. as i said, this is all something that you can find but you can't get your hands ton.
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so contes consequently, we have in our section of the bill, section four, the secretary of the senate and the clerk of the house shall post on a public web site of their respective houses a link to the earmark data base maintained by the office of management and budget. every one of these -- i could go through every one -- is answered in senate bill 3939. if you really want to do something about it pass the bill and you've solved the problem and you've kept our constitutional duties in tafnlgt now, we did one more thing because it goes one more step. this is very, very important. it was an oversight by them, but they all agree with this now. this gas step further t says that the administration, president obama, the bureaucracies, will have the -- will have the same transparency as senatorial earmarks. and so, you know, senator mccain talked about lobbyists -- or lobbying these bureaucracies. sure they are. they're doing because if we don't do the spending, if we don't do the appropriating and
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authorization, then the president does t so the bureaucracy is doing that. so we have a section in this bill that subjects them to the same thing. i remember when sean hannity came up with the 102 most egregious earmarks. now, this is just some of thevment there are 102 of them. i read all 102 on the senate floor from this pod yusm i go d. it just to make sure people understood what he had found out. these earmarks -- and i said at the end of reading awful this darned look at some of them. $3 00,000 for helicopter equipment to detect radioactive rabbit droppings. this stuff -- the one thing that all 102 have in common, all 102 -- not one of them www.a congressional earmark. they are all bureaucratic obama earmarks. so that's the reason for that. and that's -- if you want reform, that's how you're going to get t i know there are going to be some members who won't be able to resist the fact that they can have a great
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opportunity with one vote and make people they are conservative. they can give president obama what he wants and be politically credibility. but again we have a solution to the problem. that solution will come. and you know what? i snaid that conference that i mentioned about 30 minutes arc i said, if you really want to do something to do away with the earmark and all the stuff, all you have to do is define an earmark as an appropriation that has not been authorized, authorizing comeetds are the discipline for appropriations. a lot of our appropriating friends won't like this idea. that happened dolled do t now we heard several of the senators, including my junior senator, the author of this amendment, senator mccain say, this is good. we need authorize these thifntle in the armed services committee we have experts in every field. one of the experts -- a group of people -- they look at our missile defense system. right now we are in real serious problems in this country by taking down the site in poland
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that would stop the ground-based interceptor sievment that's something we should doing. we need to have redundancy. we know we hit a bullet with a bullet now. that's the type of thing we should dovment we have the expert whose know how to do that. so i will just say this: that we have an opportunity. we can reform this. we can subject the bureaucracy to the same transparency that we're subjected to, do away completely with terms as people -- with earmarks as people in their minds are thinking of them and go to redefining as appropriations that have not been authorized. i know it is a hard concept and it is one that not many people want to believe, because it is much easier just to overly simplify it and say all earmarks are bad. if you define them properly, i agree, they'd all be bad. anything that's appropriated that is not authorized, in my opinion is bad. it should be done away with t so with that, this one voice in the wilderness, one conservative saying this is the true story. if you want to -- if you really
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do want to cede our authority, constitutional authority, to president obama, you can do it by passing this amendment. this allows them to -- gives them the authority that we have. if you really believe that that's the thing to do and after looking at the constitution, what justice joseph storey and hamilton and madison all said we're supposed to be doing here, let's seriously consider that and resolve this problem, put it behind us so we can quit distracting from the big spending that's going on today, that's given us $3 trillion deficit in two years. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate
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on location this week in downtown washington, d.c. at the government 2.0 summit sponsored buy o'reilly media and our topic this week is open government and telecommunications policy. here is our lineup. first is david from vancouver, canada with the center for the study of democracy and he will be talking about how the
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canadian government uses technology to create more access to government. after him, stacy donahue of the omidyar network, this foundation invests in technology to increase access to government world wide. and finally we will talk with the canyon pendant and she uses her blog and technology to increase access and awareness of politics in africa. first up, david speed of canada. what do you do for the city of vancouver canada? >> i advise them a year and the open government opened the the. >> what is open government? >> it is this idea about we can have better access to decision making, information to the machinery of government and when we have that access, citizens are more informed or better able to influence their community and
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can actually self organized and try to create services and sort of help themselves rather than just rely on government so to leverage with the government has done to help themselves. >> helpless technology held that? >> i think a lot of governments always strived to be opened especially in the state's right from the very beginning was this notion we were going to print and share everything. in canada there's been a strong sister trying to open up government as well but the technology has changed how we can do that. we live in an era where the digits we are able to transmit huge quantities of information to the citizens who are interested. the real question is how we not overwhelm them and get this information in a concerted and use it and make it real for an end to whatever they want with it. >> in a resolution, you called for vancouver to think like the west. what did you mean by that? >> so, the goal of think like
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the web come if you look out the internet works, you have a huge conversation what's going on where anybody can come and participate and they can leverage the work that other people have done so, you know if you have a web page and write a blog atacama comment and build and create my own thoughts leveraging what you've done, and for those in the open source space i would take your coat and i can go and build something that's different, better, that suits my needs and that is kind of what has made innovation had been on the web and the question is how can we take that exciting process, and what can we learn from it and then apply it to government, and there are these huge opportunities for the indigent citizens, how public servants work together, deliver services and with the web has done. >> call connect it is vancouver? >> it's a very blessed city. i run a huge -- huge video games
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in vancouver's with strong community, a lot of the innovations around video on the internet took place early on in vancouver, so it is a very connected city. and that means we have a community of people who understand the web and what it can mean for government. >> what's the government's support of broadband expansion in canada? >> in canada it's a great question. the united states is a big country. canada is a bit bigger but more sparsely populated, so you think of the united states with one-tenth the number of people and that means you're going to have huge distances between towns, you're getting broadband penetration in the community there is the enormous question in canada it's been one of the main issues the government have to tackle with. before broadband of was how do you get phones into the communities. it has been a longstanding issue. the government plays an active role in guiding the private sector to get broadband into the
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community and a very direct role in getting broadband. they are sometimes investment requirements, sort of the telco companies -- >> requirements? >> and originally the telco were government owned. in canada each province -- iger open the country where each province has its own telco and that's because the government is full of utilities. such an important thing citizens need to have, and it wasn't clear the public sector could bring these huge distances so the government took them on and they have been privatized. >> how much government support, subsidies, how much is spent annually, do you know, on broad band or communications policies? >> on the broadband, i know enough to be dangerous, so i should be careful about how much like the one, and i don't know the specific numbers. >> we have had an ongoing debate and it's kind of increased to in this country on the issue of privacy, and online privacy
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telecommunications policy. where's the beef in canada on that issue? >> canada i think has been a little bit of the leader and that is in part because we have the provincial which is like the states level, many of the promises, the federal level as well. we have an office of the piatt commissioner, so this is a government agency, who is tasked with thinking of nothing but privacy, and not just in government, not just what information does government have and how we want to manage the information and the trick is used judiciously and kept private, but also the look out at industry and say what are the industry practices going on? what does that mean for privacy? and citizens' advocate for issues of privacy, and the of been very aggressive especially dealing with a personal networks and talking about facebook, every concerned and aggressive and always kind of looking at what are the privacy considerations we need to be thinking about. those are very well served in this area.
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>> is vancouver won big hot spot? >> no. there is not a kind of city wide municipal hotspot in vancouver, and actually i don't know of a single city in canada that has. there may be one. it's just, i don't know, but i do know that's what has been interesting is like montreal and toronto there have been efforts to sell organize the hot spots so communities coming together and trying to create one big city white hot spot, sometimes working with government but patchworks organizations working together and have had certain places you to get good coverage. >> in a recent column, david eaves, you wrote -- you quoted john gilmore. the net to interpret censorship as damage and routes around. what does that mean? >> so, when you were trying to access something on the internet, you're trying to block access for something to a site.
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one of the great things about internet because its decentralized there are usually multiple routes to get information so if one is blocked, the internet will try to find other routes around that to get to it, so redican seeing the block has some kind of this is the be all in all it is treated as a problem and to see if we can get around this problem. and i use that quote in every specific context because i'm interested in accessing information in government, and one of the things i see happening is you look at things like the fio, freedom of information request or in canada we call them access information. and you see they take not just days, but months to actually get the data that you asked for, the information you asked for, and in the world of google where, you know, people of my generation and younger are used to getting the -- the average length of a google search of
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something like .3 milliseconds. that's the time from their operating on. so when you have a community who has to wait months to get access information from the government or even wait for days, they look at the way their government operates and the way they share information and they see it as a bug. they don't see it as an acceptable parameter. so we need to reduce the time it takes by days or weeks. you have to be thinking radically differently about this problem. you need to completely ploch the timeline. if you want to have a citizenship the is active and engaged and a broad number of people who want an interest in what government is doing. a lot people don't want that and they're happy, but i think we can do better. >> what is the access to the federal government in canada online? >> so, in the united states, that is a large questions i'm going to kind of focus in on what i think people here are the
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most excited about which is open datacom and that is the work we've been doing in vancouver. you know, open data, the in the u.k. and over in the united kingdom come here you have governments that are starting to figure out how they can share vast quantities of information with citizens. they are looking at the database is they have and thinking how can we share this comes to information about education and on health care, not just documents. but the actual the raw data itself, so people might be able to do interesting things with it. in canada, what i see going on at the municipal level there is interest in this and that is in part because citizens the the two cities are close to citizens and have fewer resources they are interested in any opportunity to engage citizens in new ways and share information because the demand is immediate and the politicians face all the time, service and the forefront of vancouver leading the charge in canada. but the federal level, it's been much, much slower. we don't have anything like the
10:13 pm in the united states, and i think something's going to happen on the horizon but we are already two years behind so how much further behind? it is an area of concern for people like me. >> so what are you doing, david eaves, at washington at a government to .0 conference? it's been a couple things. i read a chapter in o'reilly's recent book, open government. i'm very interested in what open government means for how the government is going to change. a lot of people are interested in the citizen side, and redo a lot of work with the people don't seem to be talking all that much about how the rule of the public servant is going to change in the world of kind of the e-enabled and 2.0 world. the skills that are going to make success are going to change, the profits to use are going to change, the way they view their world and their jobs are going to change. i'm also here to talk about what's going on in vancouver and exciting thing sticking place. >> that was david speed for the center of democracy in vancouver, canada.
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next up, stacy donohue of the omidyar network. stacy donohue, what is the omidyar network? >> the omidyar network is a philanthropic investment firm founded on the principle that every individual has the power to make a difference. it was founded by peter and his wife, pam. pierre was the founder of the day. >> and what is your job? >> my job is the director of investments focused on government transparency which is one of the five investment areas that the network. >> so, if you're investing in government openness, what are you investing in? >> we invest in both for-profit companies as well as nonprofits. better focused on creating technology platforms that make data available to citizens on government activities in order for citizens to hold government accountable. >> an example, please? >> sunlight foundation is one of our core guarantees. they do number of things,
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including creating open the applications on government data, as well as our advocacy work to promote open government. >> why are you investing in these? these are not necessarily money makers. >> that's very true. we are investing because we feel very strongly in the importance of open government and having citizens have access to information in order to promote democracy. >> what about the availability of technology in broadband? is that something else you look at? >> technology is for record to what we look at in the government transparency area because it is technology that really amplifies and magnifies the impact that individuals can have in promoting democracy and getting involved in the government. >> now, besides the u.s., do you invest other places? >> we do. we invest in africa, east and west africa as well as india. we actually just opened an office there.
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>> what are some of the road blocks were the hardships that you are finding in other countries that may not have as much access to technology as we have here in the state's? >> well, there are obviously a lot of differences between technology that is available here and in some other countries around the world. so, in africa, for it simple, mobile penetration far outweighs a typical on-line use, and we are focused on organizations that utilize mobile technologies so that the most people possible can have access to those. >> now when you invest -- and let's take africa for an example -- where does your money go? >> well, we have organizations like an online platform that allows proud sourcing of crisis mapping situations. it started with the post-election violence in kenya, that is a platform that is now used all over the world including most recently to map the subway strike in london.
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>> and how do you know if you've been successful in your investments? >> that's a great question. we look at the reach engagement and policies and influence of the organizations we work with. for every organization is different, but because we are focused on technology, looking at things like unique users of websites to make sure that the organizations are reaching as many people was possible is an important metric for us as well as looking at engagements of citizens, or even engagements of government. we work with some organizations that actually work with government to enhance their transparency, and so we really want the engagement to be both from the demand side from citizens, as well as from the supply-side from government. >> to you have unlimited funds? >> no, we do not have unlimited funds. but we are very focused on the pulley in funds to the scalable platforms so that even a small amount of money can be invested
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to have large impacts. >> microloans? >> we do michael finance and one of our other investment areas called access to capital. >> and is that technology based as well? >> it is less technology based in the work we do in transparency and although we are starting to look at mobile platforms for payments and trying to marry the two. >> what's been the response of the u.s. government and some of the foreign governments to your investments? >> i think government throughout the world in the u.s. and elsewhere want to promote openness. what to do the best job for their citizens, don't always have the tools or are battling difficulties internally to get those things done so we look to work with organizations that are not just pushing government but also working with government so everyone can work together to get information in the public.
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>> stacy donohue, omidyar network investment director. thank you. >> thank you. >> ory okolloh, we just talked to stacy donohue of the omidyar that work and she mentioned the network ushahidi. what is it? >> ushahidi is an open source platform that allows people to report on defense that they are witnessing either by the web and estimates that e-mail, buy voice, twitter, and those agents have been visible list on a matter and you can get a sense of what is happening. may be used for crisis situations but also for the election monitoring, to monitor problems of the d.c. metro to send messages about that. and the word means testimony.
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>> and why did you cofounder this and when? >> ushahidi's birth actually came out of the first election in kenya, 2007. and then there was the letcher for self-censorship, government intervention and how the media was covering the story and a winter in the sense people didn't know what was going on. >> tell us what happened in kenya in 2007. >> the e election lucey essentially frigate, although there was an issue how they were announced, and so the violence broke out in terms of the election results, but also a lot of underlying issues around land and where people were whiffing, and just sort of day civil almost a conflict that broke out, and a lot of people being
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displaced, a lot of people being killed, both by government forces and, you know, but each other. and this something that took the country by surprise because that elections are a very hard to contest it, but no one thought that rigging was possible, especially this day and age with the technology and everyone watching the results as they were trickling in and the provisional results and things like that. and there was this sort of outrage that was very unexpected, and it think a lot of people didn't know how to react to that including the media. but there's also concern because it had clashes of the election between 92 and 97 that struck the way that minimal clashes concern much a conflict is resolved the government might try and sort of blew it over and say now we are back to peace and nothing really happened, and so this idea of why collect on a
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witness reports or what people were seeing and hearing both to keep track of the story but also their records so you can go back [inaudible] there is a record on the internet somewhere of what happened. >> and where were you when you found it ushahidi? >> i was in nairobi a time in johannesburg by went back to nairobi to vote and cover the story. i got a lot of backing in politics and so the mission of talking it up the voting and the transition into the balance and then i found myself sort of in the rules covering what was going on and the team to myself opening the books for comment so people can put their stories there and soon i am getting hundreds of comments. estimate how do people find you? how do they know? >> a lot of people telling their
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relatives to get online. a lot of people reporting on what they were hearing to get a lot of journalists using me to put stories in the media, but the word has spread if you are trying to get information about what is going on, come to my blog. and so if one person is alone, typing up, could have access to this type of information, what else could be out there, and these people could report using text messaging what else are we missing about what's going on and that is how a group of us got together and ushahidi was born. >> so how is ushahidi used today? >> well, we -- one of the critical decisions that took us -- when you study in kenya we didn't really know what we were doing. the idea was to get people telling their stories and
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witnessing and once we realize there's a lot of interesting, we got a lot of reports later and they got a group to cover this balance going on in south africa we can open source this is the next time there's a crisis situation you don't have to deal with the crash. so a lot of the elections in india and in lebanon and mozambique, brazil, venezuela and upcoming elections to the citizens to report on issues leading up to the election and election day will be used for a number of crisis situations, mostly deccan haiti and chile and proposed pakistan and civil
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society members within pakistan using its track record for help in assuring that information with humanitarian agencies but also not just for crisis situations but political events, things like tracking problems in the metro and d.c., a group is using for that. the bbc eustis yesterday to report on the strike. so the news is all over the world. >> how much independent news is there about african politics in your view? >> how much independence? >> right. is the media for the independent? >> it depends. it's hard to generalize -- >> talk of kenya then. >> in kenya it's pretty independent. we have almost 100 radio stations, vibrant newspapers. there is some self-censorship
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maybe because of the advertising but that is no different from anywhere else in the world, but in kenya it is quite a vibrant, quite open, very little government intervention. >> you grew up in nairobi. you have a law degree from harvard and an undergraduate degree in political science from the university of pittsburgh. how did you get technology involved? >> by accident i think really. when i was in law school the bergman center i was essentially [inaudible] with a did a study the intersection between law, government, policy and technology. and at the time, there is a lot in the media about india and outsourcing and bangalore and
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thinking to redo this in kenya and when are we not taking advantage of this new space to develop? but the problem was certain fundamental things, like skype was legal in kenya and no one could tell me why. i spent the summer intern with the regulator in kenya. and it wasn't even this broad conspiracy to shut down. it was just the sort of cake regulation and we needed to lobby the right people, and, you know, convince people there was no threat to national security, wi-fi is not legal, the spectrum was allocated to the army like 30 years ago, and so, you know, you had to have a whole conversation about getting the spectrum back. so the case actually was the intersection of the law and policy and how it has really
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practical negative implications and the ability to be a strong economy, and if you are valuing skype and voice over ip, clearly it is impossible to get a lot of other things right. >> have those policies changed in kenya? >> yes, dramatically so. some still have a long way to go in terms of actual infrastructure, but the regulation in terms of protecting consumers and increase in competition, but things opening up its changed dramatically. >> what are you doing here the government 2.0 summit in washington, d.c.? >> wallen talking about ushahidi and other initiatives of the opening up in the path of technology and to speak and engage and also just to -- >> ushahidi is still nonprofit? >> it's still nonprofit.
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and also it is a great opportunity to share ideas. you know, just see what the cutting edges going on as far as the streets and meeting a lot of people -- >> now why are you living in johannesburg and not in your hometown of am i robie? >> i left my partner in johannesburg, so now we are -- i pay my dues. [laughter] >> ory okolloh is the co-founder of ushahidi. okolloh for being on the communicators. and that wraps up our communicators for this week on the government 2.0 summit. this communicators and any of our work communicators from the past available online at simply click on the communicators site and you can watch when you want. thanks for being with us.
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ep3 at ennis jeter glisson jackson says ceding the environment is not only the policy but also cost-effective. she was at the aspen institute in washington, d.c.. this thursday is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the environmental protection agency. this segment is a little more than an hour. [applause] >> this is wonderful. this is the 48 anniversary of the epa, and we are kicking off the epa, the environmental protection agency, taking a week to talk about how it is one of
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the greatest movements in american history which is the environmental protection movement itself. lisa jackson happens to be a long time and your friend, if i may say, who grew up in new orleans to get there. she is a graduate of tulane, an engineering, chemical engineering graduate of tulane, went off to -- >> go great way. >> yes, and a graduate school in new jersey and among other things, besides being the head of the epa, president obama has asked you to work with all of the people in the gulf south about how to restore the coast line after the bp problem so your political skill as well as your engineering skill. it is a great pleasure to have you. thanks for coming, lisa. >> thanks for all of you guys have done to begin the celebration.
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>> you have a full week. spec with the employees will be at the epa on their stand we are having an open house in fighting some local kids would that be used for the employees to reflect on what the agency is able to do and then friday we will be at harvard university. >> and you are leaving after this. a busy week. the epa started four years ago -- 40 years ago. maybe you can start with clean air and clean water many forget that 40 years ago it was really smoggy and if he went fishing in the louisianan it was a mess, and the rivers in the water was a mess, so that would be i will say we have this brochure which everybody will see which is the sort of the ten most important
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things the epa did, so maybe that is the first and most important, right? >> i think that's right. it's back to basics in that respect. i would like to think anyone in the room had anything to do with that work. 40 years and ten significant things epa has been a part of for the american people, and we do, we forget that the cuyahoga river burned, and i'm sure you remember, we go down to places like the gulf border and it didn't look like water because there really weren't any restrictions on what you could dump in the water. we were using our waterways as disposal. and it was the epa and more important the federal clean water act the change all that when it comes to cities, the expert all the way west to los angeles. while we still have significant air quality problems, we've made
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enormous progress and we've got into the point now where we don't see the pollution as often as we do -- we did, and in some ways that make so our job a little bit harder because it is pollution that is less easy to photograph and get people riled up about. >> i think it's actually interesting for us to think we don't think the world is getting that much better, the world has got an enormously better in 40 years when it comes to clean air and clean water, right? >> absolutely. we now have a pretty rigorous -- and i can tell you a world program for control of water pollution, our challenge is to the on water or from runoff, from what we call the pollution what happens when it rains, when the rain water runs through the cities and fields and rural areas and all the rain water picks up sediments and loads the rivers that way. the big problem, as you know in the gulf of mexico, we end up
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with zones the verso full of nutrients and fertilizer and waste, that they actually become low on oxygen and become did sones. speaking of the low oxygen levels because of fertilizers and pesticides and other things, that 40 years ago when of a great week of calls for the environmental movement, correct me if i'm wrong, is rachel carson's bouck. gdp was up there is one of the great actors, is the right? >> that's right. the first administrator decided it was time to billion ddp after looking at numerous studies and inspired certainly greatly by rachel carson's book called silent spring at the effect of the pesticide on the numerous types of bugs including the louisiana [inaudible] , absolutely, and you know, we take for granted the fact those birds, including the bald eagle
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are back because of the decision to ban every use of ddp in this country. >> pelicans are all over the place and you see eagles now, whether from alaska to the rocky mountain west. how much of that resurgence, eagles and the great birds, comes from banning ddp? >> certainly a large part of it. i don't think i can and attach a number. there was a lot of biologists. it has to do with habitat preservation as well as making sure ddt was down. it was affecting the reproductive cycle of the birds, so even if you didn't have the habitat you would have seen the problem and the populations we think it is both, but i don't think you could see the resurgence without ddt petraeus mix of the habitat preservation, you are involved in the coastline, the gulf coast
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generally. how is that affecting every person on the gulf coast? how was it not just a pelican issue? >> first i would say it affects every person in the country. i really do believe that. i think most people, whether you've lived there or not, we watched the bp still, and it gave a real understanding of how many people in that region me to live in some way from the gulf whether it's the tourism or whether its fishing there is an extraordinary fishing industry. most people know of louisiana's license plate says -- >> will we from cuba to galveston you have fishing in sports fishing and commercial fishing almost intertwined. >> absolutely. and duck hunting and birdwatching. but then it becomes even broader than that. you know, literally one of the things i kept coming back to when i was down during this bill is how much of that theory is really intertwined with the
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resource that is the gulf? and we take it for granted. whether it is a variety of species, whether it is used in culture based on the seafood and it's part of what people come to the region to see, and it is no less a treasured and say our great lakes and great ocean. >> so how can we put the script so to speak and get the bp oil spill -- how can we find a silver lining and use several of what we learned and some of the money that will be coming from those funds in order to restore the coast land for all of america? >> well, i feel we have to follow a couple of weak points. first is if we know that the polling shows people in that region in the country, and people in general believe overwhelming feel that there needs to be an effort to restore the coast, to restore the gulf coast and the gulf coast ecosystem. that is incredible to take out of the tragedy the believe that what we owe back is a better golf, and then we have the
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president from the oval office saying exactly that. but ultimately what his vision was is the tragedy would turn into a better goals, better than it was the day before the explosion of the mcconnell bill will. and then we take that and combine that with efforts we see now in capitol hill and in different states to take the money from the fines beebee will pay for the queen moderate violation back to the cold water act again and put back into the coastal restoration's and letting all of those things together combined with the people of the gulf coast region who are saying this is what will ultimately provide to move the process forward. >> i hate to get off topic but use it to make the gulf better than it was before this bill and it reminds me a little bit of katrina, which is your neighborhood which is let's
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rebuild but make things better than it was before. do you think there has been a silver lining in some ways with every tragedy we said years how we can make things better? what's happened environmentally because of katrina and bp that we've learned from? >> i.t. it's one of the extraordinary outcomes of the horrors of katrina and rita where an entire coastline of people turn back to the coast and evaluate again and were reminded that a person who lives in new orleans has a connection to the wetlands that is just as strong as a person who shrimps there and that is important when a city person makes a connection to natural environment and ecosystem and says without the ecosystem i don't have flood protection, without the ecosystem i don't have protection from pollution, i don't have resilience in case of sea level rise. those connections have been made
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and were live tv to organic level and other is whether it's education or housing or energy efficiency and i think that has happened all along the coast and that is truly american. that is an american ethic to take something that happened and say okay, now that we have experienced this horrible tragedy, what comes out of it should make us stronger as the people. and i think that's where we stand on the environmental side as well. >> yeah, coming out of that it's interesting that the environmental movement, whether republican or democrat, whether it was bill reilly and roel house and the early republican administrators for the democratic one, sometimes it is perceived as an elite movement and yet environmental justice, this notion that there's a connection between the person on the lower ninth quarter and the person who wants coastal restoration can be a good thing to come out of the in front of movement. the notion that we are all in this together.
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how is environmental justice or the notion of environmentally call the help and for the work of the epa? >> with its very proud of the fact that it was one of the places that notion from the home in the federal government as we look across the history of environmental justice movement that is clearly where it started. we didn't start with in the epa or the government will body. it was people saying i want clean water, too. there were studies done by united church of christ and others that said hey, you know, we can demonstrate statistically that certain neighborhoods, if they are poor and minority have more pollution in them and that's causing problems in that neighborhood. what epa did is take that concept and help institutionalize it in an office of environmental justice. there are tremendous challenges ahead, and one of the things -- you know, my dad was a postal man, a mail carrier and c2
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people we really do have an obligation now to use the moment where to reach out to every person in america and say this isn't about whether you have a home with a beautiful view, this isn't about whether you can afford a waterside home, whether it is on the gulf coast and new jersey or new york or whether it's on the beach somewhere, work with your you just want to make sure that the air your child leaves wherever you live is clean and but you're not missing days of work and he or she isn't missing days of school because of asthma. or maybe you're concerned about water quality. whatever your issue is, if you breathe and drink water coming clean about eight -- care about it when firemen and is one of the blessings in the country we can almost take for granted. >> how does the community have a right to know concept of into that? >> that's all about transparency. when people less me about what i think is the strongest law i see the community right to know act because all the other laws leather is the clean water act
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or the clean air act are in power by the right to know, why americans ability to find out where pollution might be minted in their neighborhoods were what concerns there or whether they're is i want to buy a house, what's your my child's school or place of warship. whatever it is you can find it on line, and i just got back from china, and one of the things, the thing i know the most proud of is they are just beginning to do what they call air now international which is based on our monitoring here. people have the right to know what is being emitted in their neighborhood, and once people know that inspires them to action, so helps us do our job. >> what other things to you look back at in 40 years and think is important and what we are going to be doing for the next? >> i think we have to realize we have a system of environmental governance in this country that is indeed around the world, certainly in developing
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countries but often times in the developed countries. it is a system that says yes, we want prosperity and economic prosperity and growth, but we also expect that doesn't come at the expense of clean air, doesn't come at the expense of clean water. the toxic chemicals are going to be evaluated and the are not in to end of the products until we know like the pesticides that are actually crucial to the rapid growth are protected and demonstrated and controlled in their use and the residue that is on our food, all those things we take for granted. and i think for us, the government, the structure of government, the believe that you need an independent regulator, somebody not beholden to anybody except congress and the president, because i'm actually be holding to both, those things are very, very important. in this country, americans feel as though it's not possible for the private-sector to control our natural resources.
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>> i know so many people here have been involved in the movement. why don't we open it up for discussion or comments, questions? i hate to think that people involved in the environmental movement are far shyer than those in middle east politics which when we talk about the middle east people jump up right away like a rhetorical question. jason. >> nice to see you, madam administrator. so over the four years of the epa's life the relationship between the agency and congress has gone through a curse of affection and in some cases kind about right hostility. and i think as we see the broad partisanship and the anger that is part of our congressional discussion right now, a lot of it is being directed towards the epa, and i know you work hard to convince congress the agency is working for everybody so what idea this the administration have to try to make environmental stewardship in a bipartisan part of a work
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subculture? >> let me give a shout all, jason is a part of the by partisan sensor and among other things do this wonderful project release on issue after issue of bipartisan policy center really does find common ground and environment a specialty. >> indeed. well, you know, first, things for giving me a chance on something i truly believe, that the environment isn't a bipartisan issue, that it shouldn't be. it doesn't matter the color of the state or the community, red or blue, people care about the environment. some people call with conservation, some people call it opened states, where some pla says it is all about a year and water, it depends on the issues you face in your community. i have a couple thoughts. first, this comes back to public health care and it's important for the epa to base decisions on the best science, to be in
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concert with the law. and so, we gain our credibility by being able to show people that we are open to getting and using the the best science, that our books are open and we try to do things to come to the increase transparency. that isn't new to me, that started with the first fishable memos from oracle house when he returned to the epa. so i think transparency is an important thing and the american people will get a were agency. the second is to be able to correlate anything we do back to public health or ecological health and talk about something like the gulf coast, where we may not be able to demonstrate lives lost when you choose the ecosystem but certainly demonstrate what you've done to an entire region and the country and the spectrum of our economy. and i also think that one of the things that always in the and helps the epa is to be community-focused. we have ten offices around the
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country, and the work of environmental protection happens there. we make grand policies here and pass extraordinary laws that we're the rubber meets the road is in the regional offices of the state. the work in the communities that raises their hand and says i'm worried about a problem in my community. and every member of congress, have stepped on my desk every day letters that come from congress asking me to help with a problem in their community and that is where we try to find the ground. whether it is the middle or not, we find common ground where we work to address that. >> good. >> good morning. nrdc and former epa alumni. >> that's an understatement. >> i have never left in my heart. this is a fought similar to
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jason's question. one of the dates this year and started last year is the role of the federal government, and ensure it has occurred to you that this is an issue where the epa ought to be doubled to win this argument by pointing out what the epa has actually done to deliver to the public benefits that could not happen without an active program. my question relates to the use of television, because like it or not, most americans get their information from television. and so i wonder if there are thoughts you have about using television, getting on and basically making this issue of what the epa has done for the public almost unavoidable both in cable and broadcast and public broadcasting, you know, in the year and two years ahead. >> thanks, david. it's a great question.
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i think we have to be very careful about appropriations. we don't really have a budget. unlike the military, where you have money where we can go out and recruit or tell people one of our work. we certainly are proud of not what epa is perce. i'm very proud of epa and the people who work there. extraordinarily talented people. you know, the highest rate of scientists and engineers in the government i would say argue except for maybe nasa but we have an incredibly talented workforce and lawyers, too, by the way. [laughter] because i see a lot of you all out there. [laughter] but and i feel we do need to tell the story in ways that this country can be very proud of. there's an interesting poll recently. they asked americans who do you think -- what should government have a role in? and when it came to protecting the environment, there were all kind of answers about other things.
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95% of americans say government should have a role in protecting the environment. 50% of americans said government should be the only protector of environment, indicating a lack of trust, if you will come in the private sector, not because the private sector is bad. the private sector is us, it? but because the private sector is motivated by profit and oftentimes without regulatory restrictions, there is no -- there is no guidelines, there is no post, and so you get what you see in some developing countries right now, which is decreasing levels of air quality and water quality that in general hurt the country. so yes, we have felt a lot about it if we had a budget. we do have an environmental and education foundation that has been doing a lot of work to raise americans' awareness on various issues. but around the 40 years and as we start planning for 50 and the next administrator i think there is really an opportunity to remind americans, especially
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young americans of what we take for granted which is the rule of the government, not just the federal but and but certainly the epa. we are proud of a seminal role in protecting public health and insuring air quality and water quality and clean land for americans. >> right behind you. yes, you first and then right in front of you. >> al qaim gordon, i was a staffer for four years. the challenge of the nonpoint source religion. you're engaged in sitting particles for the chesapeake bay and there are holes coming from the farmers and the real-estate and home builders. what is your thinking how to go forward in tackling these? what is the path forward? >> great question. the path forward is going to be multiple paths, but they are past the end. the agricultural community needs clean water. the country and the community want clean water, and i think
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over and over again clean water often pose is like the number one environmental issue for americans. so there is the impetus to do it. the problem is all of those sectors are worried about cost and how to roll out the cost. what's going to have to happen is just constant high level on the ground work, which may have been in chesapeake, is showing states by partnering with them how the programs are already implementing through their own state agricultural departments and others if they are implemented in a way they can be influenced, and where you can demonstrate that you're really doing it, whether it is a cover crop planting or voluntary buffers can have a real impact. and i think that that's hard work because it's on the ground work. it would be much easier to pass a regulation and say now you must do it, but it's not enforceable. so what we are trying to do it chesapeake is learn some lessons
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there and work with other states in a fairly well publicized discussion about how to deal with nutrients in florida. we have a stake in wisconsin that's trying to step up folks in iowa who are trying to step up police is in the mississippi watershed. it's we to be that kind of work, over and over showing people where it can happen, and it's going to take time. but i think it's extremely important work because the other side of that is where we have leaks -- i want in the states because the government did mad -- close because we see over and over again and not just recreation and drinking water supplies that were severely impacted, not just because it's coming out of the pipe but because what happens when it rains and that is going to take a lot of time because it is going to require americans to change their habits, and it's easier to worry about the pipe and ourselves. >> right in front of you. yes, right there.
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>> greetings from kent gaddy and amy goldsmith new jersey, environmental federation. my name is paul schwartz in d.c. with clean water action. you made a bold statement about one of the three's that we have had, which is a lot of cleanup of direct discharges of pollutants, and yet 85% of the people in the united states live in cities and towns with collapsing water infrastructure, as we have a nineteenth-century platform and 20th century science that is incapable of meeting 21st century challenges. a really stark example of that is on keep caught where only 15% of the population is a sewer and we have phalanx septicsv and a lawsuit filed by the epa and the
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question is what is happening on the cape is de russia on a 3 billion to 8 billion per household to the cape, and arguably we are not solving the problems the folks on the cape have. is there a way that the epa can encourage and to a leadership role of encouraging signs based adaptive management, demonstration projects and pilot projects, and really look any more holistic and integrated way in water planning and in natural resource planning advancement and get better benefits for less cost? >> that's a great question. >> first, but keep is a beautiful place, it's very special. but that story is happening all over the country. certainly new jersey, where i was before i came here.
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huge areas where the septic system detailing wouldn't be under the world but now you have more and more homes with more and more septics put their sometimes i hate to say to avoid rules that come with putting in sanitary sewers, so people within septics because they didn't want to deal with trying to get discharge permits for using sewers. if you put your finger on one of the solutions. there's a couple solutions. if you have to go out that problem from various ways. the first you can't ignore the fact that these combined -- the combined influence of the skeptics is having a huge impact on water quality of there. and the cape is such a special place. a wonderful place is that if you don't address it you were going to see the degradation of the ecosystem of the quality-of-life that may be a really tragic. so you have to look at it as a regulator and say okay, there is
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a whole pipe but there is a sector of the pipe of pollution that is from this upticks, how best to deal with them and i agree with you. the problem is going back to the old days of re-engineering and sewer system from scratch and the flood area is incredibly expensive and holistically just on from global. people don't want to deal with the roads dugout. they did that in boston once. and we have to look at green infrastructure to the extent we can. green infrastructure i've said over and over again as one of the sort of transformational innovations that i think this country is coming to a leadership role. anything around water green infrastructure, the idea that wherever you can use doctors, you use individual septics but try to make sure they are effective. and you also use engineering to determine there are areas you can't have the into the and if you were over a kent septics tht might be a good deal t


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